I recently taught a cooking class on our new restaurant concept "Colorado Fusion" and was fortunate to receive a great review from the local foodie of Colorado Springs. Please take a second and read this week's food section about my class:
January 21, 2010 9:55 AM
Brother Luck is like a rock star when he teaches classes at Chefs Catalog. He never lacks for a full class.“I had enough on the waiting list to fill another class,” said Kathleen Weintraub, culinary specialist for Chefs Catalog who coordinates the classes. It’s no wonder. Luck, the executive sous chef at Cheyenne Mountain Resort, has taken the local culinary scene by storm, winning several chef competitions. And he has introduced an exciting new à la carte menu at the resort. The restaurant has had a great reputation for its buffets. Now it’s going to build a reputation for its order-off-the-menu option.“That’s my baby,” Luck told the class, referring to the new menu. “Tonight, I’m going to show you some of the new dishes.”
The theme of the class was Colorado Fusion, the style of food he is preparing for the new menu.“The fun part of the Colorado Fusion menu is it has lots of different spices,” he said.
Most of the recipes he taught us featured spicy chiles — Spicy Goat Cheese Dip, Poblano Cheddar Soup, Jalapeño Ice Cream. And there were enough cooking tips and interesting new ingredients introduced to keep foodies of all levels enthralled.“One thing I want to be sure of is that you can go shopping and find all the ingredients I use this evening,” he said. “I had a man from a class call me, wondering where to find passion fruit puree. I don’t want that to happen again.”
The number-one tip for working with hot chiles, like jalapeños, he said, is to remove the seeds and white membrane inside the pod.“Then chop the pepper very finely,” he said. “You don’t want to kill someone with a big bite of hot pepper.”
The first recipe he made was the ice cream.“It takes the longest to get chilled, so it can be churned,” he said.Then he whipped up the Spicy Goat Cheese Dip, possibly the best thing I’ve tasted in a long time. And why not? With three types of cheese zipped up with smoky chipotle in adobo sauce and heated until smooth and creamy, this dip is one recipe that I’ll be making often. Another tip for the dip: Use Alouette herb cheese.“You can buy it at any grocery store and it already has great flavor,” he said.The next recipe, and one I adored, was the Poblano Cheddar Soup.“Making soup is about building flavors,” he said.
And his tip for making sure the Cheddar cheese melts smoothly? “Toss the cheese in cornstarch,” he said. “That will protect the fat so it stays creamy and smooth.”He surprised us with a new-to-me ingredient: huitlacoche (wheet-lah-KOH-chay).“It’s corn truffle in Mexico,” he said. “Farmers here call it smut.”The nickname wasn’t surprising after he opened the can. Its contents were sort of disgusting looking: blackish gray and slimy.According to inmamas kitchen.com, huitlacoche is the edible fungus on corn. It has an earthy, delicate flavor. Luck sautéed it with onion, garlic and some other spices to use as a coating on salmon. Whatever you want to call huitlacoche, I call it delicious. You can buy it at Hispanic stores.